If Rajini can’t, Raveendran can. Bihar’s deputy inspector general of police Raveendran Sankaran, who hails from Tamil Nadu, is donning the grease paint for a Bhojpuri flick, never mind the accent.
Standing tall at 5’11”, the supercop is making his film debut in Dewara Pe Manwa Dole — a title inspired by the song Didi Tera Dewar Deewana from the 1994 Bollywood hit, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun.
The 43-year-old, who dropped out of a cinematography course in Chennai decades ago, doesn’t think language is a barrier to acting.
“Many South Indian actors such as Rekha, Sridevi and Kamal Hasan had successful careers in Bollywood,” he points out.
Moreover, having lived in Bihar for more than 16 years now, he is not new to Bhojpuri, “the unofficial first language of the Bihar constabulary”.
“Still, my dialogue delivery was not up to the mark as I have a distinct Tamil accent,” he confesses.
But the film’s producer, Alok Kumar Krit, was a source of support and encouragement.
“Krit would constantly ask me to speak in Bhojpuri and switch to Hindi whenever I falter.”
Sankaran plays a fisherman in the movie, which is slated for a May 10 release. He will wear a turban, a short sleeveless vest, dhoti and anklet — reminiscent of Aamir Khan in Lagaan.
“As the brother of the second heroine, I have a screen time of 25 minutes and I will appear only after intermission,” Sankaran says.
Sankaran’s family has been very supportive of his new role.
“We are all very excited and looking forward to watch the movie on the first day first show,” says Sankaran’s wife Malar Vizhi, who is also an IPS officer.
Much as he is thrilled about acting, Sankaran is quite sure he will pursue it only as a hobby.
“I love my uniform, I am never going to quit it for anything,” he says.